David Fincher is back to his best with his tenth screen outing, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-seller, Gone Girl, a dark, twisted, even shocking at times marital mystery that is nothing short of extraordinary.
Author Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds his Missouri home broken into, and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) inexplicably missing. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) is called to the scene and begins to suspect Nick after evidence of financial problems and domestic disputes become telling. From the outset, Gone Girl appears to be following an all too familiar path of kidnapping and a potential homicide in suburban America, but this is far from the truth. With Fincher at the helm, the film takes you further and further into the deepest, darkest chasms of this unearthly marriage that never quite seems right.
Based on a book, the film really does represent a big-screen equivalent of a captivating page-turner, you never quite know what’s going to happen next, but you can’t take your eyes off it. Although, in its third act the film almost slows down instead of delivering an eagerly awaited climax, it is the manner in which Fincher delivers the eerie tension, he controls each individual sequence so masterfully, shuffling effortlessly between past and present, and you’re never quite sure if you’re in reality or one of the characters’ concocted fantasies.
The casting of this film is arguably its strongest asset; Affleck is superb as the cagey hero Nick, and easily his best performance since Argo. The supporting cast is equally brilliant, Carrie Coon is excellent as Nick’s sister Margot, and Tyler Perry brings a much-needed comical relief to the story as Nick’s lawyer (but definitely not enough to detract from the main story). It is Pike’s performance however that steals the show. This is arguably her big break – a lead role in a huge Hollywood film, and where you’d assume that she’d grab this opportunity with both hands and pounce on it, she instead remains calm, she’s the perfect femme-fatale, expertly controlling every scene she’s in, she is also the narrator of the film, a monologue that is delivered throughout with such malicious venom.
The director himself has claimed that, “bad things happen in this movie,” and he is certainly not wrong. It is a gripping macabre portrayal of marriage in the modern age (probably the closest Fincher will ever get to a rom-com). If you’re single, going to see this film will make you extremely thankful that this is the case; but if not, you will be severely questioning your relationship status, and an awkward car journey home will undoubtedly follow suite. Nonetheless, Gone Girl is an uncomfortably brilliant watch, and a must-see for any Fincher fan.